Why I Want to Publish
It took an obituary.
As I’ve been pondering my writing journey, several people have asked me questions about my desire to get my work published. The thought-provoking questions have included, “You’ve written something you are proud of, is that not enough?” “But you enjoy the act of writing itself, right?” “I thought you gave up false ideas about ‘success’?” “But you aren’t dependent on what other people think, are you?” These questions have really made me ponder the ultimate question: why do I want to get my work out there for others to read?
I read an article recently that talked about the function of novels. Novels, it said, aren’t books; they’re opportunities for conversations. I, a woman who loves community, was quite taken with this idea. As writers, we write for different reasons; for me, it’s because writing makes time stand still. According to this article, we publish to trigger the conversation.
So I was mulling over the questions I’d been asked and the point of this interesting article I’d read, when a writer friend shared the obituary he’d drafted for the death of his father. Ahhhhhh, I thought as I read this amazing obituary, now I know why I want to publish.
None of us understands this life. No one can figure out who we are or why we’re here. God knows why, after all this work, we die. We are all searching, groping, clawing in the dark after something that cannot ultimately be taken in hand. Writing is our attempt to focus a magnifying glass on one of the interminable questions that vex us as we journey along. Writers publish their work because the rest of us want to read whatever scrap of understanding the writer has managed to snatch from the air as it floats by.
Yes, the obit was beautifully written, but that’s not why I cried as I read it. I wept because reading the story of this man’s life, I knew—despite all the horrible things that happen in the world every day—we are a good people. The shared words gave me hope for humanity. That’s why I want to publish my work: for how it alters, even ever so slightly, other people’s view of the world. I want to publish for the collective conversation of life.
here’s to creative synthesis . . .